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Florida Colleges Close LGBTQ Centers

By Charlotte Robinson, July 07, 2023

On July 1st Florida’s S.B. 266 took effect prohibiting any state or federal funding from supporting diversity, equity & inclusion programs at the state’s institutions of higher education. This resulted in the dismantling & closure of LGBTQ support offices & programs in Florida’s public colleges & universities. Shane Mendez Windmeyer Campus Pride Founder, CEO & Executive Director stated, “The repercussions of Florida’s S.B. 266 are creating a climate of fear for students & young people who rely on LGBTQ+ & other inclusion-focused centers & that fear is apparent, from students, faculty, staff, all the way up through campus administrators to college presidents. It is deeply disappointing that Florida college presidents have not banded together & found another way to keep these centers open, by securing alternative funding or rallying together in opposition to the law’s implementation.” Manny Velásquez-Paredes, director of the LGBTQ Center at the University of North Florida concluded, “It is truly a sad experience, when our political leaders use people as pawns in their political games. It is clear to every rational human being that diversity, equity & inclusion are meant to create awareness & embrace, celebrate & include our differences. However, politicians have chosen to engage in political culture wars & have decided the best way to beat us is to divide us. Their attacks on the LGBTQ+ community have been deeply felt this past legislative session with over 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in the US. Are they afraid of the LGBTQ+ community, or are they afraid of our voting power? Because these attacks on the LGBTQ+ community only make us stronger, we are taking names & will be voting against all of those who introduced an anti-LGBTQ bill, or voted to pass one.” 

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